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Issue 11 - Music up close and personal

Scotland Magazine Issue 11
November 2003


This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Music up close and personal

The Bein Inn is attracting world-class musicians and letting you get face to face with them. Dominic Roskrow reoprts

Imagine the scene. It’s late afternoon and you’ve just completed an exhilarating round of golf on one of Perth’s many courses. You’ve returned to your hotel, a cosy enough place nestling in Glenfarg, and you’re about to ask for your key when you notice someone sipping tea in one of the
lounge’s sofas.

He glances up and says ‘hi’. He’s clearly American but his face is familiar. You definitely know him from somewhere. The it comes to you and you realise it’s just a resemblance as you head off to your room. He looked a lot like Curtis Stigers. A lot. But it couldn’t be, could it?

It could if you were staying at the Bein Inn. Or any number of other internationally renowned musicians who have caught the Bein bug and agreed to go eyeball to eyeball with one of the most unusual audiences in the world.

The Bein Inn is – or at least was – a fairly typical low to medium price hotel in Scotland. The food’s okay, the accommodation’s adequate, the staff are friendly. But in recent years it has set itself apart from much of the surrounding competition by focusing on rock music.

It all started when new owner David Mundell looked at ways at turning the business around. He decided to convert the downstairs bar in to a rock memorabilia bar using posters, tickets and momentos reflecting his musical tastes. He started getting autographed guitar scratch boards, which were placed behind the bar.

And within time he moved on to staging local acts.

“I started to build up contacts and over a matter of time I started asking about musicians who were touring and might be in the area,” he said.

“We just couldn’t afford to stage some of the artists we have had here but the combination of being able to have a few days playing golf, playing in a beautiful part of Scotland and playing to such an intimate audience has attracted some big names.

“They find the experience of playing in a room to such a select number of people more terrifying than the big audiences they are used to. But some love it. John Jorgenson comes back time and time again.”

Jorgenson is, like many of the musicians you’ll find on the Bein Inn gig list, a man that might not be immediately recognisable but has a track record in the business that commands respect. Ask anyone who has seen him perform, and they’ll rave about him.

And he joins a guest list at the venue that includes such luminaries as the legendary Tony Joe White, Nine Below Zero, Glenn Tilbrook, Clive Gregson, Steve Gibbons, and The Coalporters.

“They play in the dining room and there’s no stage in there so they’re just in the corner of the room,” says David. “Some of them stay in the bar afterwards and chat to people. It’s a great way to see artists and to hear their stories of life in the business.’

Indeed it’s a muso’s paradise, and with music workshops and special weekends to really keep the music buff happy for hours, it makes for an altogether unique and special offering.

The inn has a website detailing all up and coming gigs as well as access to its own magazine. And it is happy for overseas visitors to phone ahead and book dates.

The Bein Inn
Glenfarg, Perth, PH2 9PY
Tel: +44 (0)1577 830 216